Been catching up on good reading lately. I have been captivated by reading the book "End of the Spear" by Steve Saint - a much more in-depth look at the story portrayed in the recent movie. It is captivating to me...and I wanted to share a little of it. At this moment, I am reading Steve's writings of the conversation with the Waodani that took place following his aunt's death, and revealing the actual details of how his father and the other 4 missionaries were killed, and by whose hand. I guess this is especially fascinating to me, because as this was occurring, I was in the same country learning the original story of what had happened as well. I'll share the parts that have impacted me the most this week.
"Several years ago, my dad's brother Sam died. His daughter told me that he wanted me to have a spear that had been found in Dad's body. She gave me several, but did not know which one it was. When I got them home and was alone, I finally looked at them closely. It was hard to do, but one of them caught my attention. The tip had broken off. I noticed a speck of white near the tip. I examined it closely and saw that it was a tiny fragment of a New Testament that had been taken from the beach. It is customary for the Waodani warriors to decorate the spears they are going to use on their enemies with something that belongs to that enemy or something that would be associated with that enemy. There was little doubt that I was actually holding the spear that took my dad's life.
....The Wadoani had one more burning question for me, and then we were all anxious to change the subject. One of the men who had not been a part of the spearing party asked me, " All the other foreigners being speared, the smallest one got to the far side of the river; what about that? What about what? I wondered. "What did he do?" I asked. Another warrior answered, "Not fleeing, he just stood their and called to us, 'We see you well; why are you spearing us? We see you well; why are you spearing us?'" ... Their question was, " Being on the far side of the river, why was he not fleeing?"
"Surely fleeing, you would have just tracked him down and speared him anyway?" I meant it as a question, but I know the Waodani are expert trackers. Even I could probably track someone wearing tennis shoes.
The Waodani said "Baa"- No. One of the warriors told me, as though he was revealing a dark secret, "When we speared, first we were furious. Then having speared, we were afraid. If he had fled just a little, surely he would have lived. "
I could see the pain on their faces. They were all wishing that at least one of the five had survived their hatred. I think they would have liked to have been able to explain to at least one of the men that they had gone to spear them because hatred was the only way they knew to live then. As Mincaye says "We acted badly, badly until they brought us God's carvings. Now, seeing His markings and following His trail, we live happily and in peace. "
(** Now I know this is long, but the following is the part I love. It carries weight because it is not a flippant, untested statement, but one rooted firmly in love and faith that has been weathered and born though the reality of pain and loss. - h )
It is only my conjecture, because none of us can know the will of God, but I think it fit God's plan that all five men died. I know that might offend some who have a narrower opinion of parameters within which God must operate, but I don't think what happened to my dad and his four friends caught God by surprise. Nor do I think God simply allowed it. No, after learning in detail what happened on January 8, 1956 - while I was so anxiously waiting to see the speck of my dad's little 56 Henry airplane appear over Penny Ridge- I believe God was much more involved in what happened than merely failing to intervene.
... If I could go back now and rewrite the script, I would not change a single scene. I have come to understand that life is too complex and much too short to let amateurs direct the story. I would rather let the Master Storyteller do the writing. I don't say that casually....
The details Steve Saint shares of the impact and results of that day are profound.
The scene John records in Revelation 6:9-11 in fresh on my mind because of a recent look at his life and writings:
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brother who were to be killed as they had been was completed."
What I love is that the picture of God is one of patience because of His eternal vision and faithfulness. He knows of our capacity to change and turn from even the darkest lifestyle because of the power of love and faithfulness.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." ( Rev. 21:4)
Gikita, the Waodani Indian who fueled and led the spearing raid on the five missionaries that day, got a taste and a glimpse of this peace & promise of God because of God's holy patience and the faithfulness of men willing to die for what they knew to be true of God. They were ready to die. The Waodani were not.
After Steve shared with Gikita the news of Rachel Saint's death, Gikita responded:
"Babae, being old I, too am soon going to die. Going to live, then, in God's place, I will wrap my arms around your father, whom I speared first. There we will live happily together."
What an amazing God we serve. What an amazing gift He offered us. What an amazing story He continues to tell the world through us, if we let Him.